Question: Is there a recommended percentage of staff time spent mentoring students that can be reported as community benefit?
Recommendation: We recommend including the incremental cost of hospital staff who mentor/precept nursing students (and students in other health disciplines) based on each hospital’s experience with this type of health professions education. In general, while nursing and other students are receiving clinical experience, patient care is being provided and incremental costs are difficult to determine. Hospitals should include the cost associated with training their nurses and other staff to serve as preceptors, and also the cost spent by staff in educational activities that occur outside of regular duties (e.g., didactic/classroom experiences before or after regular shifts).
Each organization should quantify staff time devoted to mentoring or precepting students based on their unique circumstances, recognizing that when students are present, they may or may not affect staff productivity. The students may perform work that otherwise would fall to staff. Hospitals should ask staff members to estimate the amount of time they devote to precepting students away from their regular duties (which may increase staff time), and value incremental costs accordingly.
(Updated July 2016)